Integration of refugees

Zwei junge Leute halten einen Globus
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General information on university studies for refugees
Special offerings for refugees by Berlin’s public colleges and universities
Information on student funding for refugees

Berlin is a city of diversity, where people of different worldviews, cultural backgrounds, origins, and religions live together. And Berlin’s history is a story of immigration and integration. Over the past years, Berlin has taken in an extraordinary number of refugees. A large number of these refugees had already attended a university in their home countries or gained a higher education entrance qualification. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees estimates that 10 to 20 percent of refugees are able and willing to go on to higher education. Berlin’s public colleges and universities are supporting this group with, for instance, preparatory courses and language classes to make it easier for refugees to start or continue university studies leading to a degree. Besides special counseling and support, refugees also have the opportunity to audit courses. Below, you will find information and links on the universities’ offerings. The Berlin Senate adopted a Masterplan for Integration and Security on 24 May 2016, which supports the measures described here.

General information on university studies for refugees

University studies for refugees

Refugees can start university studies leading to a degree under the same conditions as other international applicants. The first step is to gain a higher education entrance qualification at home or in Germany.

If certificates are incomplete or missing due to forced migration, universities offer procedures that facilitate the documentation of the higher education entry qualification.

  • Specialized courses and assessment tests: If the university entrance qualification of the country of origin is not equivalent to the German qualification, the applicant must pass an assessment test in order to gain access to higher education. The online portal Anabin provides further information on which foreign qualifications are on par with the German university entrance qualification.
  • Language classes: Besides the necessary entrance qualification, the applicant must also have sufficient knowledge of the German language. The universities and some colleges offer special language classes for refugees where the necessary language proficiency can be acquired.
  • Applying for university studies leading to a degree: If all admission requirements have been met, refugees may apply via Uni-Assist. Uni-Assist can also examine beforehand whether a refugee is entitled to study in Germany. This examination is provided free of charge for refugees.

Refugees as auditors

As auditors, refugees can attend lectures at German colleges and universities. Berlin’s colleges and universities offer different auditor programs for refugees. Further details can be found on the universities’ websites.

Counseling and support for refugees at colleges and universities

Berlin’s public colleges and universities offer special counseling for refugees.

Information on student funding for refugees

During the asylum procedure (Asylum Seekers Benefits Act)

Refugees who have filed for asylum and whose application has not yet been decided on will continue to receive payments under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act if they start university studies. This does not apply to asylum-seekers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Senegal, or Serbia.

After an asylum procedure has been completed